Texas Standard For September 22, 2021

In what could be a test of SB 8, Texas’ new abortion law, at least two people have filed suit over an abortion, invoking one of the most controversial provisions of SB 8. We’ll hear more. And: One of the biggest players in the energy industry sells off all its holdings in the Permian Basin. What this move might mean for West Texas, and what it may say about growing climate concerns. Also: A warning about a disease that could get worse as Texas gets hotter. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardSeptember 22, 2021 7:02 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Wednesday, September 22, 2021.

SB 8 Lawsuits

Two lawsuits have been filed against a Texas doctor who provided an abortion after the state’s new ban took effect – the first such lawsuits under the new law. In an op-ed in The Washington Post, San Antonio physician Alan Braid admitted to acting out of what he called “a duty of care to this patient,” and to challenge the law in court. Now the two parties suing him have obliged – although the lawsuits may not be quite what Republicans had hoped when creating this law. Elizabeth Sepper is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Law, and she joins us with more today.

Leaving Texas for an Abortion 

While the trajectory of legal challenges to Texas’ abortion law remain to be seen, women in Texas are still seeking abortions. Texas’ ban, which went into effect at the beginning of September, prohibits abortions as early as six weeks – before many people even know they’re pregnant. Now, as Texas Tech’s Kaysie Ellingson reports, Texans who can afford it are traveling out of state to get abortions.

Shell Sells Permian Assets

One of the world’s biggest energy companies is selling all of its property and assets in the Permian Basin. Royal Dutch Shell’s $9.5 billion dollar sale to ConocoPhillips comes as the fossil fuel industry recalibrates due to rising concerns about the climate, and as West Texas continues to recover from an historic oil bust. Marfa Public Radio’s Mitch Borden has more.

Bexar County Crime Lab

This week is National Forensic Science Week. Texas Public Radio’s Brian Kirkpatrick visited Bexar County’s crime lab and spoke to the men and women who work to help solve local crimes every day.

Valley Fever

Climatologists predict that as we move through the 21st century, most of Texas will become hotter and drier. Look west for examples: Midland’s climate will become more like El Paso’s, while Austin will be more like Midland, and so on. There are consequences: the inevitable strain on water resources, for one, but less obvious ones as well. Hotter, drier climates with make more of the state’s soil hospitable to a particular pathogen. For more, we’re turning to Zoya Tiersten, climate change and public health reporter for Grist, a nonprofit climate journalism site.

Fort Bend ISD Mask Mandates

School districts across Texas are caught in the middle of battles between counties and the state when it comes to mask mandates. And the battle has played out with twists and turns in Fort Bend ISD, where more than 4,000 positive COVID cases have been reported in schools since the start of the school year. Houston Public Media’s Shavonne Herndon tells us there’s growing frustration among parents – and legal action from a board member – over whether or not to require masks in classrooms.

Understatement as a Texas Art Form

Here’s one underappreciated aspect of Texas culture: the understatement. Texans are used to being pegged as exaggerators, tellers of tall tales – like Pecos Bill who roped tornadoes and shot stars from the sky. Texas Standard commentator W.F. Strong says we have plenty of tall tales resting on understatement as well.

Fort Bliss Afghan Village

As the Biden administration copes with a record number of migrants on the southwest border, it’s also working to resettle more than 60,000 Afghan refugees. Eight army installations are temporarily housing the evacuees. 10,000 arrived in Texas and are at Fort Bliss. KTEP’s Angela Kocherga recently was among a small group of journalists who got a first look at the enormous operation. She takes us inside what the army refers to as a village.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.

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